Mumbai: According to an advertisement that allegedly appeared in a regional newspaper Anil Ambani owned Reliance Digital TV, the DTH arm of the Anil Ambani Group is scheduled to shut down its operations by next month.
The advertisement in the Vernacular reads “This is a notice to all subscribers of Reliance Digital TV,” the advertisement says. “Since our license is expiring, we will be shutting down our DTH service across India on Nov 18.”
The advertisement, whose authenticity has not been confirmed, further urges subscribers to make alternate arrangements to continue to watch their favorite channels.
Reports of a potential shutdown crops up in the wake financial troubles at Reliance Communications, which owns Reliance Big TV, which runs the DTH service. At least two vendors who provide services to RCom have filed insolvency proceedings against the company, Ericsson and Tech Mahindra.
Reliance Big TV started DTH operations in 2008, and was given a 10-year license in 2007. That license is set to expire soon, forcing the company to re-evaluate its options.
DTH operations are a costly affair due to the expenses involved in leasing satellite spectrum and paying broadcasters for content. Spectrum alone is likely to cost Rs 80-100 cr per year for a player like Reliance Big TV.
On being asked whether the company had indeed taken out such an ad, a Reliance Group spokesperson said the company would respond on Monday.
Calls to the company’s customer care are not getting answered, and are met with a pre-recorded message saying that the call cannot be attended due to ’emergency conditions’.
Several channels that were transmitting on the platform have also become unavailable. The DTH service has around 5 mln (50 lakh) subscribers.
It is likely that in the eventuality of RCom shutting down its DTH business, Sun Direct may take over the satellite transponder capacity currently leased by Reliance Big TV.
Both services use the same satellite — Measat 3, and channels can be handed over from one to the other without requiring any intervention at the user end.